What sort of bike do I need for this?
You need a well maintained one! Basically bring your own bike. It’s not essential to have the latest shiny bike, you don’t need full suspension. The south Downs have a lot of varied terrain, but the bulk of the main tracks are relatively smooth and free from rocks. Obviously singletrack tends to be fairly rooty in nature but again, bags of suspension is not a necessity. As long as your bike is well maintained and fits you well you’ll be fine.
What if my bike goes wrong?
It’s up to you to ensure that your bike is in good working order before you come along, we will assess your bike before we hit the trails using the CTC’s ‘M check’. This will pick up any problems you may have missed and ensure you get maximum time on the bike.
What else do I need to bring then?
PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT (mandatory) – Helmet and gloves. We don’t care what you say, you need to wear a helmet! We’ve broken enough between us to know that even the most innocuous low speed tumble can have terrible consequences if the old noggin isn’t well covered up. Same with the gloves really, you don’t want to slip off and skin the palms of your hands, it hurts! If you want to wear shin / knee and elbow pads too that’s fine.
CLOTHING – You obviously know what you feel comfortable cycling in, but we would advise you check the weather forecast the day before and check you pack appropriate clothing for the conditions. If you’re a relative newcomer to this MTB lark, we would suggest a quality pair of padded shorts will make the experience much more enjoyable for you. Also even if the forecast is good a lightweight windproof or waterproof tucked in your bag can be useful.
FOOD and DRINK – Keeping well hydrated is essential for good performance, especially on hot days. A hydration pack such as a Camelbak that will hold a couple of litres of your desired tipple is handy for keeping you going. Failing that most MTB’s have bottle cage bosses. Get a couple of large bottles on there and you should be sorted. You may want to bring some food, we recommend energy gels as they can really get you going again quickly when your energy levels are low.
SPARES – You know what bits and pieces you will need to carry for your bike, but if you don’t can we at least suggest that you bring a spare tube. We carry a wide range of tools and bits and bobs that can fix your problems. Failing that we’ve learnt some good trail bodges over the years if the worst comes to the worst! We carry a full first aid kit and survival blankets too.
CHANGE OF CLOTHES – There’s nothing worse than sitting muddy and stinky in the car on the way home after a good blast. Bring some spare clothes with you so you can travel home in comfort.